Tag: nutrition

Not Your Mama's Brussels Sprouts! 3 Recipes You Have to Try

On behalf of anyone who has ever subjected you to boiled, steamed, or otherwise overcooked Brussels sprouts…

I apologize.

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Many of us had traumatic experiences with certain foods while we were growing up and have written them off as adults, and rightfully so. Overcooked Brussels sprouts are often one of those foods, and when they are boiled to death, they do smell (and taste) pretty terrible!

Here’s the good news – Brussels sprouts have been reinvented and taste completely different than they did when we were kids. I promise. Those of us who have sworn off these stinky little cabbages since childhood are giving them a second chance as adults…and are loving them!

Not only are Brussels sprouts delicious, but they incredibly good for you! They are:

  • A source of over 20 essential vitamins and minerals our body needs to function at its best
  • Potent cancer fighters. Check out this post for more about the amazing cancer-fighting properties of green, cruciferous veggies like Brussels sprouts
  • Chock full of fiber. You know, that stuff that keeps us full, controls our blood sugar, and keeps us “regular”

Check out 3 of my favorite Brussels sprouts recipes below!

The first one, in particular, will convert even lifelong Brussels sprouts haters. I prepared it for Thanksgiving last year, and someone who had only had Brussels sprouts boiled tried them and LOVED them. He told his wife he would eat them if she prepared them this way. Next year I may try it with some roasted purple brussels sprouts to change it up, but otherwise they’re a staple for sure now. Happy Cooking ūüôā

ImageMaple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts. This is my absolute favorite way to prepare Brussels sprouts. The recipe is super simple, too! Follow these tips/tricks for optimal results: flip Brussels sprouts over halfway through cooking time (at the 10 minute mark), so they cook 10 minutes per side. Do not overcook them – they should still be a brighter green (vs. a dull/muted green). These are SO good! You have to try them.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Shallots. Inspired by the mini Brussels sprouts and shallots I received in my Hometown Harvest bag last week, I made up this recipe.

Ingredients & Directions: 2.5 cups Brussels sprouts, left whole (mini ones, if you can find them!); 2 shallots, sliced; 2 cloves of garlic, minced; 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted; sea salt & black pepper, to taste.

I mixed all of the ingredients together and then roasted them on a baking sheet in the oven at 400F for 18-20 minutes, tossing them around in the pan at the 10-minute mark. They were really tasty! The shallots added a subtle sweetness. Bill and I devoured the whole bowl at dinner.

Smoky Lemony Shredded Brussels Sprouts – Smoked paprika has a delicious, deep flavor and is something we just started using last month! It can be tricky to find, so you might have to order it online or find it at Whole Foods, Fresh Market, MOMs, or Wegmans. I modified a few things in the recipe (but feel free to follow it “as is”):

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  • Used coconut oil instead of olive oil since coconut oil is more heat stable
  • Added 1/4-1/3 cup low sodium vegetable broth to help the Brussels sprouts cook down. I did this after the Brussels sprouts had been cooking for a few minutes. Just add it in a few tablespoons at a time until the Brussels sprouts soften.
  • Used 2 cloves of garlic instead of 1 (I love garlic!)
  • Added in 1/4 cup of toasted, chopped walnuts for some crunch!
  • Added closer to 1 tablespoon of lemon juice instead of 2 teaspoons (3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon)

What is your favorite way to prepare Brussels sprouts? Feel free to share your recipes below!

Not Your Mama’s Brussels Sprouts! 3 Recipes You Have to Try

On behalf of anyone who has ever subjected you to boiled, steamed, or otherwise overcooked Brussels sprouts…

I apologize.

Image

Many of us had traumatic experiences with certain foods while we were growing up and have written them off as adults, and rightfully so. Overcooked Brussels sprouts are often one of those foods, and when they are boiled to death, they do smell (and taste) pretty terrible!

Here’s the good news – Brussels sprouts have been reinvented and taste completely different than they did when we were kids. I promise. Those of us who have sworn off these stinky little cabbages since childhood are giving them a second chance as adults…and are loving them!

Not only are Brussels sprouts delicious, but they incredibly good for you! They are:

  • A source of over 20 essential vitamins and minerals our body needs to function at its best
  • Potent cancer fighters. Check out this post¬†for more about the amazing cancer-fighting properties of green, cruciferous veggies like Brussels sprouts
  • Chock full of fiber. You know, that stuff that keeps us full, controls our blood sugar, and keeps us “regular”

Check out 3 of my favorite Brussels sprouts recipes below!

The first one, in particular, will convert even lifelong Brussels sprouts haters.¬†I prepared it for Thanksgiving last year, and someone who had only had Brussels sprouts boiled tried them and¬†LOVED them. He told his wife he would eat them if she prepared them this way. Happy Cooking ūüôā

ImageMaple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts. This is my absolute favorite way to prepare Brussels sprouts. The recipe is super simple, too! Follow these tips/tricks for optimal results: flip Brussels sprouts over halfway through cooking time (at the 10 minute mark), so they cook 10 minutes per side. Do not overcook them – they should still be a brighter green (vs. a dull/muted green). These are SO good! You have to try them.

IMG_3345

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Shallots. Inspired by the mini Brussels sprouts and shallots I received in my Hometown Harvest bag last week, I made up this recipe.

Ingredients & Directions: 2.5 cups Brussels sprouts, left whole (mini ones, if you can find them!); 2 shallots, sliced; 2 cloves of garlic, minced; 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted; sea salt & black pepper, to taste.

I mixed all of the ingredients together and then roasted them on a baking sheet in the oven at 400F for 18-20 minutes, tossing them around in the pan at the 10-minute mark. They were really tasty! The shallots added a subtle sweetness. Bill and I devoured the whole bowl at dinner.

Smoky Lemony Shredded Brussels Sprouts – Smoked paprika has a delicious, deep flavor and is something we just started using last month! It can be tricky to find, so you might have to order it online or find it at Whole Foods, Fresh Market, MOMs, or Wegmans. I modified a few things in the recipe (but feel free to follow it “as is”):

IMG_3374

  • Used coconut oil instead of olive oil since coconut oil is more heat stable
  • Added 1/4-1/3 cup low sodium vegetable broth to help the Brussels sprouts cook down. I did this after the Brussels sprouts had been cooking for a few minutes. Just add it in a few tablespoons at a time until the Brussels sprouts soften.
  • Used 2 cloves of garlic instead of 1 (I love garlic!)
  • Added in 1/4 cup of toasted, chopped walnuts for some crunch!
  • Added closer to 1 tablespoon of lemon juice instead of 2 teaspoons (3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon)

What is your favorite way to prepare Brussels sprouts? Feel free to share your recipes below!

This Is Community

Growing up, I preferred being alone more than being with other people.

It’s not because I didn’t like people; I was just super shy and introverted and felt safer and more comfortable in my own company than I did with others.

As I’ve mentioned before, studying abroad in Spain my junior year of college left an indelible mark on me, expanding my palate beyond what I ever thought possible. It also transformed my social tendency to prefer being alone.

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The Hispanic culture is a very social one. I was surrounded by people all of the time and rarely had the opportunity to be by myself. When I returned from my semester abroad, instead of spending all of my weekday evenings hunkered down in the library reading, studying or writing, I began to value and enjoy staying up until 2:00 a.m. playing cards, baking, listening to music, and hanging out with my friends.

For the first time in my life, I wanted to be around people more than I wanted to be alone.

Graduating from college and leaving the academic world for the first time two years later was frightening for me. All of my identity was wrapped up in how well I performed as a student and whether I got good grades.

I had just started my first dating relationship, moved out of my parents’ house and into an apartment with someone I didn’t know, and was working two jobs. In the midst of all of those transitions, I felt alone, lonely, and sad. I lacked community.

My then-boyfriend (now husband!) and I went through some challenging times as individuals and as a couple as we sought to establish new connections and find community.

Over the past seven years, we have been blessed by the generous, loving, supportive community of family, friends, church members, and co-workers that surrounds us.

We have experienced the significance of what it means to be in community.

When a couple in our church has a baby or is going through a challenging time, and dozens of people sign up to bring them dinners for two months…

This is community.

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When we sign up for a missions trip to Nicaragua as we are buying our first house and don’t know where the almost $3,000 we need for the trip will come from but end up being fully funded

This is community.

When a kitchen sink pipe starts leaking the day we move into our new house (which we had to get some loans to get in the first place), and our next door neighbor (who happens to be a plumber) offers us his industrial air blower to dry out the floor and replaces the pipe for half of what it would have cost elsewhere…

This is community.

When our bus gets stuck in the mud in an impoverished village in Nicaragua as we are on our way to a feeding center, and the villagers stop what they are doing to find rope to pull us out, dig their heels into the mud to push from behind, and bring whatever precious water they can find to help us clean ourselves up afterwards…

This is community.

When my husband has hand surgery and can’t drive his manual transmission car for a month, and four friends eagerly offer to lend us theirs…

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This is community.

And days later, when a snowstorm comes through, and our next-door neighbors take it upon themselves to shovel out our walkway, sidewalk and driveway, as they tell us, “We know your husband can’t use his hand. We take care of you.”

This is community.

This is what happens when we are in community. We were meant to be in community.

So, what does this have to do with food?

As I’ve written before, we believe good health begins in the kitchen. It’s a place of connection, community, and comfort.

Unique communities around the world identified as “Blue Zones” are home to the world’s longest lived people, people living active, fulfilling lives well into their 90s and even 100s. Belonging to some kind of faith-based community, being in a social circle that supports healthy behaviors, and eating a plant-centric diet are three of the nine lessons learned from people who live to be 100+.

The next time you have an opportunity to spend time with friends, family or even a coworker, create community in the kitchen. Make a healthy, nourishing meal together. You don’t have to have a fancy kitchen or be an experienced chef to do this ‚Äď maybe a pot, a pan and a knife, or some of these inexpensive kitchen staples.

Pick out the menu, go grocery shopping, prepare the meal, and savor the food together. It will be more enjoyable than doing it by yourself. Do that enough times and maybe cooking will become something you get to do instead of something you have to do.

Looking for some healthy recipe inspirations? Check out my Pinterest board or some of the links below for ideas!

  • Kath Eats Real Food: Real food. Nothing processed here. Delicious and simple ingredients and recipes…check them out!
  • Girl Makes Food: Discover how delicious and easy healthy food can be!
  • Clean Food: Terry Walters cooks seasonally and prepares delicious, nourishing recipes. I have her cookbook, Clean Food, and we have made nearly a dozen delicious recipes from it!
  • Healthy Girl’s Kitchen: After struggling with diet obsessions for years, Wendy has lost and kept off over 40 pounds through a plant-based diet. Check out her awesome recipes!
  • The Gracious Pantry: Clean eating recipes for everyday living.
  • oh she glows: In addition to being meat and dairy-free, many of Angela’s recipes are free of gluten, soy, and processed foods…did I mention they are also delicious?

5 of My Favorite Sweet Treat Recipes!

One of my favorite books that really simplifies how to eat real food¬†is Michael Pollan’s¬†Food Rules. I love what he has to say about junk food.food-rules-cover-484

Rule #45: Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.

Let’s be honest. If every time we wanted fries, baked goods or ice cream we had to cook them ourselves, we would eat a lot less of those foods. It would truly be a treat when we ate them instead of something we can easily do every day thanks to modern food manufacturing.

In college, I was given the nickname “Betty Crocker” by a group of my husband’s fraternity brothers and roommates because of all of the baked goods I made for them, including my specialties of cookies and cream brownies and half-inch thick chocolate chip cookies.

Now that I’m focused on nourishing my body (and my friends and family) with wholesome, minimally processed or refined foods, I take a different approach to baking.

As I’ve learned more about how to cook and bake in a healthier way, I’ve discovered that a variety of foods found in nature are sweet, minimally (if at all) processed AND delicious, including fruit, dates, raw honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, applesauce, and blackstrap molasses, to name a few. They are great substitutes to use in recipes that call for highly refined white sugar.

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Like any sweet treat, these are meant to be enjoyed occasionally, not every day, because the more sugar we consume, the more our bodies will crave. In fact, many of us are literally addicted to it.  Two of the keys to curbing a sugar addiction are to minimize our sugar intake and make sure we are eating enough nutrient-rich whole food at regular intervals, so our bodies feel nutritionally satisfied.

Many of the sweet treat recipes I prepare will often include fiber, which helps the sugar in the food release more slowly into the bloodstream, giving your liver more time to metabolize the food.

I like to think of food choices on a continuum of “Good, Better, Best.”¬†All of these options are¬†better¬†choices than grabbing a box or bag of sweets with long lists of ingredients we can’t pronounce.¬†

Here are links to 5 of my favorite tried and true sweet treat recipes!

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  1. Homemade Rolos¬†(oh she glows)¬†I LOVED Rolos growing up. I made these last night for dessert, and they were gone by the time we finished playing Catchphrase! I used¬†Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips because they only have 3 ingredients and are gluten, dairy, and soy free (you find them at Target, Wegmans, Whole Foods, and MOMs).¬†oh she glows is one of my absolute¬†favorite¬†blogs. Angela posts so many amazing and delicious recipes – from baked goods to side dishes and salads – and I’ve tried about a half dozen of them and will feature them in future posts.
  2. Chocolate Mint Truffles¬†(Mind Body Green) – I made these for multiple holiday parties this year, and they were full of minty goodness. They’re vegan and don’t contain any processed sugar, but no one will know!
  3. Peanut Butter Granola Bars¬†(The Family Vegan) – This recipe is from the¬†Forks Over Knives Cookbook, which my hubby gave me as a gift for Christmas. We have already made 10 delicious recipes from the book this year,¬†so¬†I can’t recommend it enough!
  4. Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Cookies (Fast Paleo) РThese are a great gluten and dairy-free alternative to chocolate chip cookies, and they are delicious! An alternative option is to use half raw honey and half maple syrup instead of using only honey. Sometimes I also do half peanut butter and half almond butter instead of only almond butter.  I use Enjoy Life chocolate chips in these as well, but you can skip the chips altogether, if you prefer, and add cranberries instead!
  5. Banana Bread Muffin Tops (oh she glows) – I just made these for the first time last week, and I really enjoyed them with walnuts and raisins!

Unfamiliar with some of the ingredients? Just do what we do, and buy them off of Amazon. They are usually cheaper there than anywhere else, and we get free 2-day shipping with our Amazon Prime Membership!

I would love to hear if you end up trying any of these recipes. Feel free to share them, and stay tuned for more!

Here goes nothing!

I’ve always been perfectionistic…waiting until everything was¬†just right¬†before taking a risk, gathering as much information as possible to make sure I was making an informed decision, and consulting more people than necessary to reduce the likelihood I would “mess up” or make a mistake. I have lived most of my life terrified of failing.

If I read¬†just one more¬†book or took another class or watched one more video, then¬†maybe¬†I would be ready…maybe¬†then¬†I would be¬†enough.

What is enough anyway? That word has plagued me for as long as I can remember. Am I smart enough? Pretty enough? Happy enough? Healthy enough? Generous enough? Good enough? You get the point.

I’ve lived most of my life this way, taking calculated risks when I was¬†just about certain¬†I would benefit.¬†People call people like me “control freaks”…my dad says I just have a “high need for certainty.” I’ll take the latter.

You’re never going to please everyone.¬†I’m saying this to myself as much as I am to you. To some people, what you offer will be good enough, and to others, it won’t. The sooner you figure that out, the more content you’ll be.

So, in the spirit of “enough,”¬†I’ve decided to take a risk…to feel the fear and do it anyway because¬†I know what I am called to do with my life¬†and I don’t want to wait another minute to have an impact.

Food, nutrition and health have fascinated me since childhood. Whether I was learning how to bake from my mom or my neighbor Miss Muriel, working at a produce stand in high school, or reading about trans fats in college (surely a popular topic of discussion among 18 year olds!), I loved learning whatever I could about food and nutrition.

Even though I considered myself healthy, back in 2010, I was carrying around over 20 pounds of extra weight, taking Prilosec on a daily basis for my acid reflux (since age 19!), and struggling with other digestive, sinus and respiratory issues I had had since I was a kid.

I saw a dozen doctors, was treated with countless rounds of antibiotics and had six ear and sinus surgeries by high school.  I even developed some adult acne in my early 20s.

No one talked about the possibility that food could be related to my symptoms. No one. They just gave me another pill, sent me to another specialist, performed another surgery.

I’ve spent the past year learning more than I ever thought possible about food and nutrition as I’ve become a health coach. ¬†I’m still just scratching the surface, but¬†I’m excited, and I’m ready.

So, here I am, at the start of my healing, deciding that what I can offer is enough. 

My hope is that you will benefit from what I‚Äôve learned along my journey.¬†Eating real food ‚Äď food that our bodies were designed to eat ‚Äď can be delicious, enjoyable, affordable, nourishing and healing. We can¬†look¬†and¬†feel better, have¬†more energy,¬†and get sick less often.

It scares me¬†to think of starting this blog without having everything in order or knowing how often I’m even going to post on here, but guess what?¬†It’ll be good enough for some and not enough for others.

Here goes nothing!

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